"Inning weren't here anymore," Buck Showalker explained to MASNSports.com. "Want him to stay sharp as he's been here."
The Tigers could groom Mercedes for that spot. They signed 39-year-old Joe Nathan in the offseason for that role, but will need to groom a closer for the future. Mercedes, however, has proven neither consistent nor a premier strikeout pitcher at the minor league level.
"He's trying to get in the lineup on opening day," Sandberg said of Ruf, per the Philadelphia Daily News. "Looking at the at-bats and swings for the last 10 days of spring training, he's one of the hot bats. He would be a guy I want in there."
While Ruf is having a productive spring, he still has to earn a spot on the opening day roster.
"[His spring numbers] are good, that'll help him," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "But he's not a lock. Nobody is a lock."
Soto has yet to play in spring training while recovering from foot surgery. He is in a race to be ready to assume the starting job on opening day. Rios has been out for a week with a rib cage injury.
Zimmerman said he's still learning the details of playing first base, but is ready to see playing time there.
"Yeah, I could play right now," Zimmerman said. "I wouldn’t be 100 percent comfortable. But at the end of the day, you catch the ball and you either run to first or flip it to the pitcher. It’s not anything terribly difficult."
Murphy is hoping to rebound from a miserable 2013 with Texas in which his batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage all dropped about 100 points. But he has struggled in exhibition play with just two hits in 15 at-bats.
"He took out a lot of the thorns, but there’s some more in there," Roenicke said. "I don’t think it’s that big of a setback, but I imagine he’s pretty sore today. I don’t know if you guys have stepped on one, but you know how little some of the [spines] are, and they’re in there for a while? With Frankie, he may some in today and say, ‘I’m pitching.’ I don’t know.'"
Roenicke doesn't believe Rodriguez's latest setback will keep him from being ready for the start of the season.
"It’ll be tough to keep him back, the way he is," Roenicke said. "Like I said, he may end up pitching [on Thursday as scheduled]. It could happen. I just have to talk to him and see how he’s doing."